Foreign Favourites Series: Lady Vengeance

One of the unexpected delights in setting up the Foreign Favourites series has been discovering new bloggers and their enthusiasm to contribute. This includes Laura O at Filmnerdblog, whose site is a delightful mix of film genres housing detailed and well written reviews. I have been catching up for lost time and really recommend you have a look too.

Lady Vengeance film poster

Film Favourites series: Lady Vengeance

Overview

Lady Vengeance is the final film in what’s become known as South Korean writer/director, Chan-Wook Park’s, Vengeance Trilogy.  And what a finale it is!  Don’t worry if you haven’t seen Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance or Oldboy, it isn’t that kind of trilogy.  Each film stands alone on its own merits and tells a separate story about unrelated characters and events.

So, to Lady Vengeance.  This film tells the story of Geum-ja Lee, a beautiful young woman who, when we meet her, has just completed a thirteen and a half year prison sentence for kidnapping and murdering a little boy.  So far, so grim, right?  Stick with it.

Upon her release, Guem-ja, sets the wheels in motion for an elaborate and gruesome revenge plot against the man she holds responsible for her incarceration.  Park shows how ‘kind-hearted’ Guem-ja is now a cold, determined, manipulative and damaged woman, as desperate for redemption as retribution.

We’re also treated to a series of flashbacks which shows her innocence and naiveté before the crime, as well as her time in prison.  In these scenes she seems to be a quiet and unassuming character, although we soon see that she has a dark side, even if her actions have good motives.  And that, dear readers, is pretty much all I’d like to say about the plot.  I fear to say any more may spoil it for those of you who’ve not yet seen it, but might want to one day.

Lady Vengeance

My two pence

I was hooked right from the opening credits…that music!  It somehow conveys a sense of mystery and intrigue, not to mention foreboding.   Listen to it here

Lady Vengeance is visually striking too, from the opening sequence where Guem-ja leaves prison to the scenes in the deserted school, there is some really memorable imagery.  Yeong-ae Lee shines as the tragic Guem-ja, the ultimate anti-heroine, successfully expressing the full gamut of emotions.  While there’s a solid supporting cast of characters, it’s Yeong-ae Lee who carries this film.

Lest I give the wrong impression, I should say that Lady Vengeance is flawed.  It takes long while to get going and at times the story seems muddled and a little confusing.  But for all that it is a truly unique story, perhaps partly because the vengeful protagonist is a woman.

While it certainly won’t be to everyone’s taste – it’ll be too violent for some – much of the violence here takes place off-screen, unlike the utterly brutal (and brilliant) Oldboy.  If you’re able to cope with a generous dose of blood in your films, give Lady Vengeance a go.

Scenic shot

Score: 8/10
Watch the trailer here

My thanks to Filmnerdblog for participating, and for such an impressive review. I haven’t seen it, but with such a positive write-up I probably will for sure. 

Guest series: Foreign Favourites

World Map

There are so many innovative and thought-provoking films out at the moment, especially in awards season, that I felt inspired to put something up. In my Line(s) of the Day, my film quotes usually come from a Hollywood film, but there are a wondrous array of films outside the English language covering all genres and eras. I’m always keen to hear the thoughts and opinions of others and find out about films I may not otherwise see.

In that spirit, I’ve decided to create ‘Foreign Favourites’ and invite anyone interested to select a film of their choice and write a review to share on here. It can be film you’ve seen once, countless or been meaning to check it out for ages. It would be great to have you contribute and explore a genre that is often overlooked. As I know how busy you all are and to keep it fair, there originally was a limit of one per person, but I’ve since removed it. If you have one you plan to do, let me know here as soon as you’ve made your choice and I will put you down for it. 

Only a few rules:

– By foreign films, I do mean one that is in a non-English language for the majority of the film.

– The style is your own but please include a brief plot synopsis of the film and an overall rating.

– You can’t have reviewed it before.

–  Not everyone will have seen the film so no spoilers please.

Any questions feel free to ask. Hope to hear from you soon.

FILMS TO REVIEW (so far):

Alexraphael – Le Dîner de Cons  Read here
Beetly Pete – Closely watched Trains  Read here
Cindy Bruchman – Nowhere in Africa  Read here
Cindy Bruchman – The White Ribbon   Read here
Dell on Movies – Stranger by the Lake  Read here
Dohabitation – Battle Royale   Read here
Film Grimoire – Vivre Sa Vie   Read here
Filmnerdblog – Lady Vengeance   Read here
J James – M   Read here
Movierob – Hearat Shulayim  Read here
Oh! That film Blog – Volver  Read here
RobinsRealm Blog – Lilya 4-Ever  Read here
Silver Screen Serenade – Jagten   Read here
That Moment In – The Chaser   Read here
Thefilmculb – Le Concert  Read here
The Sporadic Chronicles of a Beginner Blogger – La Haine  Read Here
Where the Wild Things Are – The Lives of Others  Read here